David E. Freel

Management & Human Resources


David E. Freel serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Max Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, having joined the faculty in 2011.  Mr. Freel teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in the subjects of Business Ethics, Global Ethics and Integrity Compliance for Corporations, and Ethical Leadership and Decision Making. Professor Freel also teaches in the Executive Education and Certificate Programs of Fisher and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. He previously taught fulltime in Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law Clinical Programs.

Mr. Freel formerly served as the Executive Director of the bi-partisan Ohio Ethics Commission for seventeen years. During his entire tenure, he worked for the public through four different gubernatorial administrations. As Executive Director, Mr. Freel supervised staff responding to ethical advisory and enforcement issues involving senior level public officials and employees at state and local levels, including those at 37 public universities and colleges, and applicable to 500,000 in public service throughout Ohio. 

Mr. Freel has served as a Special Assistant Prosecutor and as an expert witness in ethics-related state and federal criminal prosecutions. He has written and edited articles on ethics governance and given ethics presentations to public, private, and non-profit sector audiences and legislatures throughout the United States and internationally.  He serves as a member of the Editorial Board of Public Integrity, a journal of the American Society for Public Administration.  He also has consulted on ethics and integrity issues enterprise leaders face, and has served as past board presidents of not-for-profit organizations serving youth.  

In May 2014, at the request of the U.S. Embassy and USAID, Mr. Freel traveled to Sarajevo to present in conferences and leadership meetings on strategies to implement groundbreaking whistle blower protections and related anti-corruption efforts.  Bosnia-Herzegovina civil societies began the legislative effort with government leaders to attack endemic corruption. In 2011, Mr. Freel served as an Expert Consultant for the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and their International Assistance and Governance Initiative, working within the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Economies to draft disclosure and anti-illicit enrichment principles adopted by APEC for leaders in those economies. In 2009, he served as an international ethics expert team member for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducting a Joint Learning Study with the Kingdom of Jordan on ethics codes within their government ministries headquartered in Amman, Jordan.

Mr. Freel is a past President of the Council of Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), an international organization, and was named the recipient of their highest honor, the 2007 COGEL Award, at their Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.

Areas of Expertise

  • Ethics
  • Ethical Decision-Making
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Ethical Leadership and Integrity
  • Compliance
  • Codes of Conduct
  • Disclosure
  • Transparency
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Areas of Expertise

Ethics and Leadership
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Leadership


  • JD, Capital University Law School
  • BA, The Ohio State University


Freel D.E. (2018) Ethical Decision-Making: An Applied Structure Addressing Ethical Challenges. In: Farazmand A. (eds) Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20928-9_2375


  • BUSMHR 7610 - Business Ethics

    Developing ethical perspectives in the business environment for use in managerial decision-making. Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 859.